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Sony Ericsson Helps Out FreeXperia Developers

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the helping-hand dept.

Android 50

hypnosec writes "Smartphone maker Sony Ericsson has decided to work closely with developers creating custom Android ROMs for devices in order to learn from them. The company said in a blog post that it has decided to support an open source developer group called 'FreeXperia,' which creates custom Android ROMs based on the CyanogenMod for several Sony Ericsson phones like the Xperia ARC and Play. Sony Ericsson maintained that it does not approve of some of the work carried out by independent developers but was keen to work with people who were creating custom ROMs."

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ESPN drops Hank Williams Jr. from MNF (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595792)

I saw the interview this morning on Fox and Friends, and I'm pretty sure the Hank had already been hitting the bottle. Comparing Obama to Hitler on national television is completely ridiculous. Calling Obama and Biden 'the enemy' is just stupid. We have enough real enemies. Someone needs to put a cap in Mr Williams' ass.

Re:ESPN drops Hank Williams Jr. from MNF (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595878)

Damn straight. There are plenty of corrupt and incompetent, dark skinned, genocidal maniacs Obama could be compared to (cf, any President of a shit-hole country in Africa). Comparing Barack Obama to a white man is racist.

One Wish (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37595800)

So a white guy, a black guy, a Mexican, and a Jew are walking along the beach. They see something shiny, golden embedded in the sand. It looks like a lamp.

"Yo, I wonduh if there be such a ting as genies" says the black guy. So he picks up the lamp, rubs it, and sure enough a big genie pops out! The genie says in a loud booming voice "I WILL GRANT YOU ONE WISH." So the black guy says, "fuh realz? Yo genie, I wish dat all mah black brothas and sistas in the USA could all be in Africa to live togetha in peace and have whatever we need. Then we finally be free of Whitey." "SO IT SHALL BE DONE" says the genie and the black man disappears along with all the other blacks in USA.

Next the Mexican picks up the lamp. "I WILL GRANT YOU ONE WISH" says the genie. The Mexican says "Si senor genie, I wish all of my Mexican and in fact all Latino people could all live together in Mexico in peace and have whatever we need." "SO IT SHALL BE DONE", says the genie. Then the Mexican and all other Latinos and Hispanics in the USA disappear and end up in Mexico to live in harmony.

Now the Jew picks up the lamp. "I WILL GRANT YOU ONE WISH" says the genie. The Jew says, "I want all of the Jews to live in Israel in peace. I want them to get along with both each other and all the neighboring nations. I want all of us to be wealthy and prosperous, needing nothing from no one." "SO IT SHALL BE DONE" says the genie. Then the Jew and all other Jews in the USA disapper and end up together in Israel to live in prosperity and peace.

Finally the white guy picks up the lamp. "I WILL GRANT YOU ONE WISH" says the genie. The white man says "well shit, if all the niggers, spics and kykes have finally left the USA, I wish I had a beer!"

Re:One Wish (0)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 2 years ago | (#37598738)

Once the racist got him beer, mixed race man who saw all this picks up the lamp. "I WILL GRANT YOU ONE WISH" says the genie. The man says: "I want these racists bigots to see what they despised the most when they see other racists like themselves." Then all the bigots, closet KKK members and racists turned on themselves thinking each other was black, Hispanic or Jewish.

A hacker phone is a powerful phone (1)

Joshua Fan (1733100) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595802)

This is what they realize, as custom roms can squeeze new life out older smartphones, with a slimmer OS, a little background processes trimming and some slight overclocking.

And they are interested in making powerful phones.

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (1, Interesting)

SpiralSpirit (874918) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595870)

custom roms were the only reason windows mobile phones of the past were usable. this is not new.

the question is:

does installing a custom rom still void the warranty? if the answer is yes then this is bullshit.

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595952)

Hmm, that's a good point. When I think about it, ultimately this isn't really that much different than installing a different OS on a computer. Doing that doesn't typically require one to void ones warranty.

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (1)

SpiralSpirit (874918) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595974)

sadly it often is different. It requires installing boot loaders and things of that type, and if you don't follow instructions you could potentially brick your phone. I suppose if sony put an open boot loader in their phones so that it wouldn't require installing a custom one, then they'd go a long with the various rom communities.

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37597052)

We have put an open boot loader in our new models. Feel free to visit our unlock site: http://unlockbootloader.sonyericsson.com/ [sonyericsson.com]

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (1)

ryocoon (2466182) | more than 2 years ago | (#37599542)

We have put an open boot loader in our new models. Feel free to visit our unlock site: http://unlockbootloader.sonyericsson.com/ [sonyericsson.com]

Except this doesn't apply to CDMA models of the SonyEricsson phones. Largely because big, bad VZW doesn't want to let them be unlocked. People have figured out a few ways around it using commercial tools, or even temporary exploits. However, just because we are Americans and use Verizon and CDMA technology, we are locked out from the same features that our GSM-toting brethren enjoy. It is _JUST_ as easy to unlock the bootloader (I've done it), but they specifically do not allow for it.

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (0)

tantaliz3 (1074234) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596196)

This is basically asking them to support repair for a product that we've modified away from their working specs. I don't think it's fair to hold them responsible for the costs. And we can still work with them to support it.

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37599362)

No, it's not fair. It's probably not fair to expect them to cover damage by the software, but software is hardly the only way that a handset can get damaged. Allowing them to also not cover hardware problems due to defect is definitely not something that's fair.

Also, apart from bricking a device by having to work around their means of preventing one from installing a custom firmware, there isn't anything that's any more risky than installing an early version of Linux on a computer.

Personally, I'm not so sure that they shouldn't be held accountable for requiring one to go to great lengths to install a hacked bootloader. They were the ones that installed one that wasn't easily replaced in the first place.

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (1)

Funnnny (1409625) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596020)

You install a custom ROM, overclock your CPU like hell, remove many protection like the charging heat protection, and then still expect waranty. Sorry things like this will never happen.

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (1)

SpiralSpirit (874918) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596042)

I've never overclocked a phone nor removed charging heat protections (those are all in circuit, btw, not in the OS).

If manufacturers keep putting out shitty iterations of android on phones, and now expect the online community to pickup their slack, they have to man up and realize that its the smallest percentage of broken phones that are related to these issues. more people have their regular stock phones die, screw up, fallin a lake, or on the floor, or whatever, than the 7 people who brick their phones installing a recovery/boot loader.

So either this has manufacturer support or it doesn't. the halfway measure is a joke.

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (1)

Funnnny (1409625) | more than 2 years ago | (#37600224)

The charging protection is in the kernel, many people using Galaxy S with CM7 have a kernel that inscrease the temp that the phone will stop charging.

You can do whatever you want with the phone, but stay as-is with what the manufacturer offer, they can't help if you overclock your phone from 1000Mhz to 2000Mhz, brick, and then go to a store, say "oh I was making a phone call and the phone broke". If you want to control your phone, control it and please don't blame any want.

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (1)

SpiralSpirit (874918) | more than 2 years ago | (#37600502)

that kernel isn't a part of cm7 - its someone's custom kernel that other people are installing.

even still, sony could unlock the bootloader, but specify that while custom roms are allowed, overclocking isn't.

supporting your customers putting in their own unpaid time to make your phone better while voiding their warranty sure is a win/win for them, but I don't see why sony should be involved.

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (1)

Funnnny (1409625) | more than 2 years ago | (#37609468)

No one can know if you install CM7, or whatever thing you done, like overclock, install kernel, install radio, messing with bootloader, no one can know. How can they allow you install custom ROM but disallow overclock ?

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596054)

What? Is it even possible to overclock an ARM processor? I've never even heard of "charging heat protection," and anyway the charging control is in the firmware, not the OS (otherwise you couldn't charge your phone when it was off). This has nothing to do with what you are talking about.

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37596628)

https://github.com/freexperia/semc-kernel-msm7x30/commit/1f8be97b73bd2b9bcddedd9d8cdbfb7ca8324c53

And yes: this could "break" your phone.
(try measure the temperature)

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (1)

snailsupreme (1721694) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596258)

does installing a custom rom still void the warranty? if the answer is yes then this is bullshit.

FTFA: Sony Ericsson, however, amidst its new-found developer love, added that unlocking the boot loader and installing custom ROMs will void the warranty of the devices.

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (1)

Custard Horse (1527495) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596924)

It's no different to some motherboard manufacturers who provide overclocking features. "Yes, we will provide a warranty - but only when used within tolerances that we specify". Seems pretty fair to me.

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596354)

If a phone manufacturer does it, it obviously won't void the warranty :P

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37596576)

> does installing a custom rom still void the warranty? if the answer is yes then this is bullshit.
RTFB (log, second link)
"However, please pay attention to this important and legal fine-printed text that you should not skip. We once again must make it clear that if you unlock the boot loader, and put a custom ROM on your phone, you may void your warranty. Sony Ericsson does not guarantee any functionality of your phone while going down this road. This is for advanced developers only, who are aware of the risks involved and have the knowledge to minimise the risks."

Basically, if you want to play around with your electronic gadget, here is instructions how to do it and a key, but if you screw up, it is your own fault.
Sounds fair...

Making the hacking community happy while keeping the legal dep less worried.

Re:A hacker phone is a powerful phone (1)

SpiralSpirit (874918) | more than 2 years ago | (#37597330)

so then why do they need sony to be involved here? Anyone interested can already go to xda-developers and work on/download roms, bootloaders, etc.

Head asplodes (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595830)

Sony *HELPING* hackers?????

Obvoiusly Sony-Ericsson didn't get the memo from SCEA.

Re:Head asplodes (2)

silly_sysiphus (1300705) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595910)

People frequently forget that Sony-Ericsson works as a mostly separate entity from (big nasty evil) Sony. While SE hasn't exactly caught on quick how to play the smartphone game, this sort of behavior clearly distinguishes them from the company that brought us rootkitted CDs, etc.

Re:Head asplodes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37596222)

Euhm that was sony-bmg also a joint venture like sony ericsson...

Re:Head asplodes (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596360)

Yeah, I know. That's why the bit about S-E vs. SCEA.

Re:Head asplodes (1)

skapaft (2367782) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596708)

This. People seem to forget the second part of the name, and somehow forgetting that it's a swedish company, much of it quite separated from the Sony-part.

Re:Head asplodes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37597008)

This. That. That. This This. This. That. That.

Re:Head asplodes (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#37597826)

Depends on how one define smartphone.

Their P series of phones started in 2002 with the P800.

Re:Head asplodes (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596774)

Ericcson is a phonemaker company that just happened to be bought by Sony but is mostly independent from them.

Re:Head asplodes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37596900)

Wrong. Ericsson is a separate company that makes network infrastructure equipment such as base stations and switches. Ericsson is not owned by Sony. Sony Ericsson is a joint venture company 50% owned by Sony and 50% by Ericsson. And yes, SEE does have a different culture to either parent company, with some elements of each.

Re:Head asplodes (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 2 years ago | (#37597748)

SCEfoo was/is quite supportive of open source and hobbyist developers....as long as you follow their rules.

Need I remind you of the:

PSone Net Yaroze
Linux (for Playstation 2)
OtherOS on the PS3.

SCEfoo really doesn't care what you do with your hardware, as long as you don't use their tools and access to enable piracy.

For example there were all kinds of discussions on the PS2 Linux forums (hosted by SCEfoo itself) about all kinds of things, including discussions of emulators...but discussing ROM's/ISO's/"flip tops"/using the PS2 HDD to "backup" game or other things related to piracy were verboten.

There are still people using OtherOS, since if you wanted to keep it, all you have to do is not update your PS3's firmware. Sure you'll lose access to PSN, but PSN is their playground with their ball, so it's your choice.

and yes, I do have a PS2 Linux kit and did have a YDL install on my PS3. (firefox was a much better web browser on the PS3 than GamOS's sucky Netfront)

Re:Head asplodes (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37599730)

There are still people using OtherOS, since if you wanted to keep it, all you have to do is not update your PS3's firmware. Sure you'll lose access to PSN, but PSN is their playground with their ball, so it's your choice.

You lose all access to games made after April 2010, too, because PS3 games insist on updating the firmware. If you're running old firmware, no games for you. Ditto Blu-Ray playback if an update is needed.

So it's OtherOS *OR* games and movies. Before it was "It does everything". Now I have to choose, and it seems Sony owes me a PS3.

PSN can be ignored now with the new ToS, but not running new firmware isn't an option anymore if you want to play anything recent.

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37595846)

Bet you a doughnut that this is so they can learn how to prevent or cripple the custom ROMs.

Re:Keep your friends close, and your enemies close (1)

FuzzyFox (772046) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596062)

+1 This is just so that they can figure out how people go about hacking their phones, so that they can design phones that are more hack-resistant.

Re:Keep your friends close, and your enemies close (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37597070)

I see this being an end run on x10 hacking (2)

tlambert (566799) | more than 2 years ago | (#37597360)

I see this being an end run on x10 hacking.

The main developers doing the heavy lifting there get newer toys so they don't play with the older ones, and SE gets positive credit with the community. The blog comments in the blog referenced above are largely about the x10 bootloader not being unlockable.

The x10 is running a straight Snapdragon processor, which means it's using T-Zones in order to run the baseband firmware on the same chip as the OS. The reason it's not unlockable is because of that, since it would require exposing the Qualcomm hypervisor internals. This is the same reason the HP Touchpad wasn't really as much of a deal as it seemed. You don't know what code Qualcomm is running in there.

The newer phones have a Snapdragon for the baseband, and a separate application processor, similar to the iPhone design with a separate baseband, so the unlock is for the application processor without exposing the baseband firmware to similar tampering (i.e. they get to provide the carriers with the assurance of carrier lock, in the same vein as the iPhone carrier lock).

The only real question is whether they've moved the carrier lock t user space on the application processor, where it should have been on the iPhone, or if there's still an incentive to do baseband hacking to unlock the device from a particular carrier. That's the part of jailbreaking that Apple objected to for legal reasons. There was a real risk of losing FCC/country equivalent certification and contractual obligations to carriers for disallowed options such as tethering or pushing large amounts of data around, which is why there was a limit on the size of an app you could buy over the air instead of sync'ed via iTunes and downloaded to your (non-tehthered) desktop/laptop.

-- Terry

Re:Keep your friends close, and your enemies close (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596266)

Bet you a doughnut that this is so they can learn how to prevent or cripple the custom ROMs.

You're an idiot. I say that nicely as possible. Seriously, why risk losing a doughnut with those odds? I guess if it was a totally plain one.......

-- Homer

Re:Keep your friends close, and your enemies close (2)

MrZilla (682337) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596744)

Yeah... The only way to figure out how an open source project works is to infiltrate it. Makes sense.

In other news... (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596090)

Hell has frozen over. More at 11.

Support them if you want open devices! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37596466)

That's a cool thing of Sony Ericsson to do! Sony at least could use probably use a karma boost.

I will only consider manufacturers that offer unlocked boot loaders or provides an unlocking tool in exchange of a voided warranty next time I buy a phone or tablet. Hopefully we will get phones that have a failsafe recovery system so that manufacturers can offer unlocked devices without voiding your warranty in the future.

The manufacturers that I know of today are:
* HTC for some new phones
* Sony Ericsson
* Motorola tablets
* The Google phones

Re:Support them if you want open devices! (1)

petman (619526) | more than 2 years ago | (#37597016)

You missed Samsung. To be honest, I don't know about their other phones, and am not bother to look the info up, but the Galaxy S II I recently bought had the bootloader unlocked out of the box.

Re:Support them if you want open devices! (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#37607854)

My most recent (and last) Samsung phone is the one I'm packing now - an old Moment (M900). It was unlocked out of the box, but is sufficiently crippled in crappy hardware/software that rather than wait another 8 months for my contract to expire, I just got an Evo on Ebay. They hooked me with the old Sync on Cingular, but now, I won't be rolling the dice on any more Samsungs.

Re:Support them if you want open devices! (1)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | more than 2 years ago | (#37598586)

Its already been said before, but Sony Ericsson is not Sony :)

SE is a joint venture of 50% sony, and 50% ericsson, headquartered in London. Their culture is very different to Sony, and many would say, still very much "ericsson"

Know your enemy (1)

Andtalath (1074376) | more than 2 years ago | (#37596548)

If they know exactly how these people think.
They can lock them out the next round.

Re:Know your enemy (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37598558)

No, they can't, not only because they are Sony and have already proven themselves to be incapable of doing what they know they should do, but because of economic limitations placed on all consumer-level devices. To really take the time, effort, and logic to harden the device would increase the cost to the point where they can't make any money on it. They give it a good go, but it's just one goal of many. Also, they're probably smart enough to know that if they make the devices too unhackable, then there is a very vocal segment which will stop supporting them.

Amazing the difference a year makes (1)

Reapman (740286) | more than 2 years ago | (#37599574)

When I first decided to switch from iPhone to Android I had, for various reasons, 2 options open to me. SE's X10 and an Acer Liquid E. Similar stats, same processor (underclocked on the Acer) etc etc. However the X10 was rocking Android 1.6, while the Acer just went from 2.1 to 2.2 at the time. SE was slow and painful with their upgrades.

Fast forward to now, and I finally dropped the Acer and it's horrible build quality and went.. Sony Xperia (Play). I've gotten 2 firmware upgrades since getting it, and it even has a lot of nice touches specific to Sony like a Home Launcher that doesn't suck and features like xLoud. It's hard to believe this is the same SE that launched the X10 and then forgot about it. I've always liked the hardware, and now even the Software seems to be getting up to snuff.

I'm still a bit leary, I mean in a year they seemed to do a 180, and in a year they could do it again and go back to the old ways, but so far I'm liking it. What they really need to start doing however is releasing some dual core phones to keep up with the competition (that new Galaxy S 2 looks amazing), maybe even a newer Xperia Play that supports HDMI out (big screw up on their part in the original)

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